it is no easy task to do what’s right, and that task becomes insurmountable when what is right changes with the passing of time during which one goes from being collectively praised as a preconceived adult to a fully chastised and individual one. Paquin’s character of Lisa, or Margaret, depending on how the film works in the viewer, is given narrative at first through a series of events and then through a series of fringe characters so bloated with unrealized dreams and sadness that they become occupiers. the film went through a protracted release and a contentious editing process, but all criticisms that include this fact are surface and superfluous. the film is magnificent and whole, and it speaks to the integrity of Lisa as written and acted that the scenes considered too bright of foreshadowing can be defended both character-wise and story-wise. this is not a world where people tell each other anything on time. all are late, and though armed with facts such armor does not stand up to scrutiny’s current inflation. Lisa embellishes often and is praised for it, and when momentarily truthful she is berated as operatic. but this is no dramatic reading listing the litany of wrongs done to the young; Lisa is hard to believe and hard to root for, even though the viewer knows it would be mostly right to do so.
Thursday, July 5, 2012
the ghost of bill murray for Mike
on a wall
and things like that
the ghost of bill murray
the ghost of jim jarmusch
the ghost of michael shannon
has this look
white wall. snow’s double.
the ghost of richard farnsworth
the ghost of richard farnsworth
coffee, a chair, a hospital
nursery- the infants and the future
it could take.
the ghost of vera farmiga
how sad, my cheeks, to fight
the ghost of willem dafoe
a porn name
Thursday, February 2, 2012
there are men in movies doing secret jobs for secret people. the men have guns we are not surprised to see and hammers we are. there are worse people than these men and we will see first their grins that curtain evil and then we will see their brains. we are used to it. in ben wheatley’s ‘kill list’, it is not the surface violence that rattles but instead the violence of the underlying. there is a home life rendered in such detail that its residence is carried by the main male character to far away places not far enough. his female counterpart keeps home in a performance worthy of wife; she is keeping her man a man with kisses, encouragement, and cuts. he must remain real. their child is salve, and they both hover over not to protect but to be momentarily healed. the film is kitchen sink but only. humor and camp are not employed as décor. in its final scene, the lesson is clear that if one wishes to eat something, you kill it first or have it killed for you.
Thursday, June 23, 2011
some men are fathers and some are former young believing husbands. uxbal, as played by bardem in this film, is both and he is taxed with being male and with believing it is his job to be good. the only way he can achieve this, he believes, is by making himself less bad. when he lessens, or tries to, his impact on those around him he becomes less of a man and invites those of his world to a party of which he is only the guest. he plays host only to his dying. he has few beliefs, but they are clarifying- that his children remain untouched, that death is not sudden. that both of these beliefs are relegated to the trash bin of faith makes uxbal a recycler of dreams in a world of stronger insomnias. the film is all color and grit and it’s good to see a hard film like this not play into a gypsy trap of hazy image- even its ghostly asides play fair and eschew surrealism for an impoverished horror. it has been maligned its length, and I’ve nothing for that except a measured what the fuck. uxbal touches the face of his dead father and uxbal’s son sleeps on the injured side of his own. one cannot call curtain on a man until that man is done. if it means one need watch the man full of others' demons in the a.m. in his own apartment squinting at a refrigerator hung picture drawn by his child, we’ve a duty to squint him into focus. special attention should be made to uxbal’s wife, what the filmmakers start with and allow her to end on. it’s a rare thing these days to see a woman character be forgiven, let alone allow that forgiveness to come from acceptance, to come from the woman. there are two films here, and inarritu the director makes a strong case for custody.
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
odd, farmhand black film noir that tries to marry its ho-hum cynicism to an aw shucks fervor but manages only a brief honeymoon of blissful tone. affleck is dedicated without being loyal and is given one too many cheats to wink at. its desperation is well earned in some parts, and if the finale is the kind of crazy the movie had previously doused, it is also almost enough to make one thankful for the drier lands those involved with its making seemed to have migrated from. the brutality in many of its scenes is simultaneously numbing and calming- one is relieved that there is a true act, but distressed at how completely affleck’s hobbyist has collected himself.
when the walking and talking of people is used as a locale, it’s important to do what this film does: make it feel like home. what at first seems lazy and aimless becomes familiar and aggressive. the camera sets itself on shoulders and as the two main characters show up in place after place, sometimes returning and sometimes venturing, one finds him or herself wondering how the commonplace will footstool itself to that inevitable, disappearing step. the filmmakers here know what to do with a face, and in zoe kazan’s they have a winner. the film is quiet throughout, but there is no muting love, hurt, and disorder. that it finds the sequence of these things without giving the viewer a to b is what sets it apart from so many point-and-shoot indies.
before it turns its rather clever hypothetical into an actual calculation, this likable drunkard of a film is able to make its minor diners worthy of its road trip. the opening scene says more with image than it does with its writ and unfortunately after that it doesn’t trust its gravitas without having some rather annoying vehicles weigh in. by its end, it’s a rather accomplished youtube segment that stretches itself beyond the length of one’s patience. will, though, have one talking- and any film with a scene wherein a tire looks itself hard in the mirror deserves at least some reflection.